Joseph Mallord William Turner

Notes Relating to The King’s Landing at Leith; Two Views of Granton Castle; the Forth from Leith Walk; Details of the Triumphal Arch

1822

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17609
Turner Bequest CC 59

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the left are three sketches and two tiny details of views and objects near Leith. With the sketchbook in its usual orientation three lines of notes relate to the sketch of George IV’s landing at Leith on folio 58 verso (D17608).
The first view at the top of the page, inscribed ‘Granton’, shows the now demolished Granton Castle as seen from near the waterside to the north. Beneath this, rather than a drawing of Craigmillar Castle as Gerald Finley suggests,1 is another view of Granton Castle, this time from the west looking along the shoreline of the Firth of Forth towards Inchkeith island. The location is identifiable by comparison with an undated postcard published on the EdinPhoto website.2 There are further sketches of Granton Castle on folios 36 (D17564) and the outside back cover of this sketchbook (D40688).
In the centre of the page is a view of Leith from Leith Walk. In the foreground is the triumphal arch, hastily erected for George IV’s procession into the city on the 15 August 1822, with the dockside of Leith beyond and the Fife bank in the distance with the island of Inchkeith between the two banks. The two small details at the bottom of the page seem to record parts of the arch, the crown and perhaps a finial.3 Turner traced the King’s procession from Leith to Edinburgh, drawing the same view with the arch across folios 39 verso–40 (Tate D17571–D17572; Turner Bequest CC 39a–40). The triumphal arch is also included in a sketch on folio 40 verso (D17573).
The notes across the top of the page record details of the ‘admiral’s Barge’ and of the sailors’ uniforms.

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

1
Finley 1981, pp.84–5.
2
‘Granton Castle’, EdinPhoto, accessed 10 September 2008, http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_pcv_unidentified/0_post_card_views_unidentified_granton_castle.htm#start.
3
Triumphal arches were also erected in Bernard Street and Constitution Street on the King’s route into the city; Finley 1981, p.8.

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